A downwind sail!

Miss Molly 4
Bob & Peggy Wilkerson/Geoff & Merel Pettifer
Wed 29 Dec 2010 17:38
35:01.85 S
150:46.86 E

With Christmas behind us we had no more excuse to hang around. The mission is to get to Tasmania. The New Year's Eve fire works in Sydney would have been a nice excuse, but the weather window that seemed to be presenting itself was something that could not be passed, knowing how rare it is to get the right winds. So on Tuesday afternoon we waited for enough water under the keel at the fuel dock, fuelled up the boat and motored down the Parramatta River. Under the Sydney Harbour Bridge again, which was now full of people which took a guided tour on the top span. They all get dressed in bridge-coloured overalls so it looks like there is a maintenance force out there. But 80 odd at the time... quite a crowd! We were told you have to pay $200 each to do that tour! We had just walked over the bridge at car level and that was already quite nice with great views and lots of action to see.

On we went, past the Opera House and through the stretch were last week the race boats were practicing for the Sydney - Hobart race. Despite the lack of them there were still an awful lot of boats out there, sailing in the bay. Since we had flown in over night from a family visit in Perth we did not want to sail straight off and we anchored off Spring Cove just inside the Sydney Heads, ready to head out the next morning.

We had an early departure in mind and we did leave at about 6:30 to do the 90 mile trip to Jarvis Bay. At first we had light winds, but during the day they filled in and the whole afternoon we enjoyed a downwind sail, doing about 9 knots. We could hardly remember the last time we had the headsail poled out and it must have been more than 2 years ago, crossing the Pacific heading for Tonga. We had forgotten how nice it is to sail downwind, especially since the sun was out. Not a bad day in the office!

We did not have to cook that night either. It so happened that Brett & Debbie, the previous owners of our boat Sifar, were anchored in Jarvis bay in their recently purchased boat, a Deerfoot 60. They invited us over for a lovely dinner with even nicer wine. We left them way too late for our planned early departure the next morning, to make it in daylight to Eden, the last stop before heading over the Bass Straight to Tasmania. We hope that Eden is the paradise it sounds like because we could do with some fresh fruit on board. No chance to provision in Sydney as it was a public holiday and the buses ran less frequently. But if we do not have enough time to hang around Eden we should arrive in Tasmania before scurvy gets to us.

Cheers from your crew,

Geoff & Merel